Useful kit thread discussion.

Dot

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Great stuff @Snows on the kit thread, really handy stuff. What’s your thoughts on getting a jet boil gas cooker for the field?
 

Bongo

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German Army sleeping mat
https://ukmcpro.co.uk/products/german-bw-military-field-mattress

WHAT - Replaces standard roll mat.
WHY - Folds like a sniper mat, but better - fits perfectly under the top lid of a bergan, which is a massive space saver in exactly the right place.
WHERE - Link above although sold out - if you search for the term in the title, it gets sold in a lot of places. You want the German Army issued one as they are super cheap and the best design.
Yep I had an inflatable square fold mat. Such a space saver
 

Snows

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Great stuff @Snows really handy stuff. What’s your thoughts on getting a jet boil gas cooker for the field?
Sensible, I don't agree with the "what if it runs out!" objection. Then it runs out, and you use the issued stuff, but one canister lasts for weeks if used sparingly. Until then it saves a lot of time and you can pack it with your brew hit, so it's not a space hog. It's also insulated and deep which is one reason it heats faster than an open mess tin with lots of surface area. That said, the oldstyle combination of metal mug in the hexi burner slot was also pretty efficient. I'm not sure they still fit the new issued burners, and a lot of blokes got issued plastic mugs instead which are useless. The new burners are meant to be pretty good and a lot faster though, anyone still in review them?

Bear in mind that training establishments tend to have very specific policy about Jetboils, so no point buying one until you know you can use it.
 

Big_Shep

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Exped Drybags

WHAT
- Drybags, to organise your bergan and kept your kit dry
WHY - You'll need drybags for your kit pretty much from day one, as well as a canoe bag (big hardwearing one) as bergan liner. A lot of guys go for black or olive drybags. Result: they all look the same at night, you need a headtorch on, you label them in sniper tape, which comes off. These never leave your bergan while tactical, so they don't need to be cammed. The bright colours and varying size allow you to distinguish which one is which in the dark. e.g. mine were always Blue: spare clothes. Red: wet/used kit. Yellow: fresh socks/underwear. No light, more tactical, good drills. They are also decent value and lightweight, although (fair warning) they are not always totally waterproof if fully submerged. But for your bergan bags, that's rarely an issue as they are already in the canoe bag. Best all round compromise of weight, size, durability, waterproofing. Don't go for ultralight - they are crap, leak and there isn't enough weight difference.
WHERE - Amazon for the Exped brand. Others are a lot of heavy duty (like canoe bags) versions, which are good but too heavy, and super cheap Chinese copies, which I would avoid. Also avoid the cam pattern 'tactical' stuff, that's clickbait for cadets.
Mega tip regarding colour.
 

Sharpe

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Fantastic thread, so useful re coloured bags! My lad swore by this
 

Peakyboy

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Fishing reel

WHAT
- Basic reel wheel from a fishing rod. Used to deploy / rewind comms cord in harbour areas. Add tiny lightweight carabiner to the end of the line. You want about 20m of line.
WHY - Will save you lots of time and frustration trying to wind string around a stick. Simply clip carabiner onto something (or wind cord around anchor and clip carabiner onto cord, then reel out the wire. When taking down, reverse. Example included is just for the picture, find a cheap lightweight version with a reel knob, with 20m of fishing line, then cut off the groove where it attaches to a fishing pole.
WHERE - Link is for one on Amazon, but search around.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Weiyiroty-Fishing-Wheels-Changed-Accessory/dp/B08M5J7KXF/

This thread is amazing and I’m not sure if putting comments in it will ruin the resource but wouldn’t a bungee be better to use to tie things as they have hooks or am I way off? Ps I’ve never been “in the field” and just trying to get my head round this. I’ve a feeling all this will be invaluable tips once you get to battalion.
 

Snows

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This thread is amazing and I’m not sure if putting comments in it will ruin the resource but wouldn’t a bungee be better to use to tie things as they have hooks or am I way off? Ps I’ve never been “in the field” and just trying to get my head round this. I’ve a feeling all this will be invaluable tips once you get to battalion.
Threads can always be edited if necessary. You'll need to tie different things off in different ways. The fishing reel quoted is for comms cord - every man carries it, but it's used basically as section kit to mark areas. So you need to be able to hand it off to someone.

Tying kit to yourself (or your combat jacket) is usually just done with string, but as above the string gets knotted up. Bungies are a bit heavy duty for this, and in any case, the point is that any unretracted length of cord is going to get knotted or caught on things.

Bungies are often used on basha sheets (waterproof covers), but the problem is that when you add 4+ bungies to your basha, it weighs more than twice what it did before. Reducing weight is the top priority of all your kit choices. A lot of guys (me included) drop bungies in favour of "jungle knots", which are basically knotted lines of string, which are easy to secure to something by wrapping the string around the knots, because they weigh a fraction of bungies. They aren't necessarily as easy to secure or take down, but reducing weight is the priority.
 

Admin

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In order to keep the Useful kit thread tidy and on topic please use this new thread for any questions, comments and discussion.

The useful kit thread should continue to follow the What, Why, Where format.
 

Dot

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@Snows or any trained lads would you recommend a knife for use in the field? Don’t worry I’m not talking about some killing tool but I’m thinking one may be handy for cutting and the like what you think?
 

Snows

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Going to tag in @Iron and @Paratrooper1, because I think the answer is different for different roles. I'll let them answer for depot / as a new tom in Bn. Remember as a tom you have a knife in the field: your bayonet. Using your bayonet wasn't common, but it did happen in Iraq & Afghan.

However, some roles / weapons cannot attach a bayonet. For those cases, my answer is absolutely, it's invaluable. My uncle was a USN pilot who passed on an original one of these when I commissioned, which I've carried and used since, and it's lethally effective and still in perfect order after about eight combat tours (majority of them his). So don't necessarily think that the newer things are better. I've bought a couple of newer style hunting knives over the years that aren't much good in comparison.

You are correct, the days of WW2 style commando daggers are unlikely to come back. Mostly a knife is useful for general woodsman DIY engineering tasks. There is also the case of machetes, which are vital personal kit in the jungle.

As a killing weapon: I understand that nobody, particularly potential recruits, wants to come across as an immature, COD-influenced psychopath. But here is an opinion from experience. My knife was used at least once, in Vietnam, as a killing weapon against an enemy. It was designed that way, and is very effective. In my hands, it was also used a fair bit on operations, exercise and subsequently for slaughtering (for food), or putting down wounded animals (ricochets, dog attacks). Ultimately, I kept the extra weight in place of a bayonet: so although I luckily never had to use it on a person, I didn't primarily carry it to slaughter goats. That is why you are issued a bayonet, and, as above, they have been used, recently.

A knife is not a nice or a particularly quick way to kill. Cutting a throat is a lot more brutal than Game of Thrones portrays it, and it's not over in seconds. It takes a good thirty seconds of a creature trying to exhale through a cut windpipe as it bleeds out before its brain shuts down, while you can that experience in its eyes. Add to that the legacy still visible in parts of Africa like Sierra Leone, and which some in the Parachute Regiment saw happen live, of entire populations of single-handed amputees, the scars of warfare conducted by machete.

Many of the weapons you will carry are nasty pieces of kit. I spent a tour quietly hating the phosphorus grenade on my hip, which simultaneously burns you alive while suffocating you (used in a closed environment, which is what it is for), not least because if hit by a stray round, it would likely do the same to me. At least one soldier has died in recent years from a munition he carried, accidentally triggered. The US used phos in Iraq, still does in some of its munitions, and Russia, Syria, and last year allegedly Armenia have used it in the past 5 years. Should we come into conflict with, for example, Russia, there is every chance these weapons will be used on or around you. If they are, we will quickly progress to using them in return. Only 70 years ago, flamethrowers were a standard assault weapon. I haven't even mentioned explosive amputation, which I'll bet everyone on this forum who served in Afghanistan/Iraq saw the effect of, in person, one way or another.

So while I understand your reticence, I don't think it's valuable to shy away from the reality of what we do, or what you are applying to do. Otherwise we create a kind of sanitised, media friendly version of war, which results in us casually allowing much worse things, because we are in denial of reality.

As an officer, with a bit of experience behind me now, one of the most concerning things I saw was the casual attitude that some soldiers had to what they were doing. It was most prevalent among those who were most detached from the reality of combat. Qualifying or dismissing the reality of killing, and the reality that killing is the core of what you are applying to do as a paratrooper, is not healthy for either you or the Army. I know the Army encourages people to focus on anything else for PR reasons, but don't fall for it. Think seriously about what you are applying to do.

All of the weapons you may carry are killing weapons. You have to own that.
 

Paratrooper1

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You will also be issued a leatherman now. It very much depends on your training platoon staff but it is very common that Joe purchase a relatively cheap Mora Kniv. For your first 14 weeks issued kit is more than adequate.
 

Dot

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Will we be able to leave camp to go buy anything?
 

HP

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Yes. You will have a long weekend within the phase 1 element of CIC and you will be cut away for weekends in the phase 2 more often. Although our phase 1 and 2 is combined you are considered a trained soldier to a basic standard after the phase 1 part of the course. Phase 2 is where you learn how to be a high quality infantry soldier and pass P Coy. Still intense but you tend to have more time off over weekends when not on ex.
 

Snows

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@Snows or any trained lads would you recommend a knife for use in the field? Don’t worry I’m not talking about some killing tool but I’m thinking one may be handy for cutting and the like what you think?
Laughing at my total misreading of what you were asking about. Yep, some kind of leatherman style knife is standard, as above.

I'll just leave this here, and be on my way.
 
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Chelonian

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As suggested by @Paratrooper1 the Mora Kniv range is worth taking a look at. I’m on my second Bushcraft model after using several other models. My day job is managing farm stock on Dartmoor and a practical field knife gets daily use and abuse.

It's the perfect blade length for me at about 309 mm. The blade thickness of 3.2 mm is sufficiently robust and unlike some of the other knives which I considered it has a nice belly which is handy for game preparation. The blade has a Scandi grind which is mega easy to keep 'shaving sharp'.

It comes with a hard plastic sheath which suits me as the knife generally generally lives in a small pack attached to my horse's arse. This model is available with a black 'tactical' finish on the blade. I'm a knife pest so the black coating on the Scandi bevel has been transformed to a mirror finish by honing.

A good buy for less than £40 and not at all a compromise for the features I required.

mora_kniv_bushcraft.jpg
 

Snows

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The issued Afghan patrol daysack is excellent. This one.

I've not found anything that fundamentally improves on that much, so not really necessary to change. I also used a Camelbak Motherlode, but they've changed the design to something less good. I find civilian daysacks are generally a nightmare, because they're designed to be carried in a way that doesn't work if you've grown up with the military system. Looks to me like Catterick now issues the new Virtus one, which I haven't used, but some of the current guys might give an opinion. Honestly, it's a very personal choice, a lot depends on your build, what you are used to, and where you like to carry the weight.

For warm kit, I'd wait until you have a bit of experience using it, to see what you actually need. Until then the issued stuff is perfectly good. A lot of people buy five different types of warm kit: you are never going to carry that much. I work on the principle that I have one permanent piece of warm kit (https://eu.alpkit.com/products/fantom-mens-down-jacket) that goes on when stationary and at a pinch can substitute for a sleeping bag, and everything else is multiple lightweight underlayers like Helly Hansons.

It's generally true that the major issued kit you now get from day one is good enough, certainly to see you through training. People swap stuff out for personal preference or for extra features, lighter weight, and so on, but it's mostly tinkering, not necessity. No longer are a polyester backpack and a wool jumper the answer to all problems!
 
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